148Apps Network Post
Developer: AffinityBlue
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPod Touch 4g

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★★
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Lots of nodesNode Beat is an interactive, visually appealing sound toy that generates soothing electronic music. Depending on how you move the nodes around with your finger, you can produce an endless random stream of melodies, synced to a beat you specify so it doesn’t sound disorganized. You have two types of nodes: octaves, which are the larger circles with a cross in the center, are tuned to a particular musical octave and generate pulses. You also have notes, which are keyed to a random musical note. When an octave comes close enough to a note, a connection is made (you’ll see a white line) and the note responds to the pulses generated by the octave and generates a chord. When several notes are affected by several octaves, you get lovely harmonious music.

I have to admit that I am not an audiophile so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this app at first; I didn’t know what the terms attack and decay meant on the Settings panel, for example, but to my delight I actually really enjoyed it. Part of the fun of this app is experimenting and figuring out what the different settings do, but here are some suggestions: release your inner Eno by turning off octave and node movement and experimenting with deliberate placement of nodes on the screen. Turn on gravity to put nodes into a freefall depending on how you tilt your device. Experiment with the speed and beat sync settings to make the music faster or slower depending on your mood.

First page of settings screenThe app’s interface is good overall; it’s a simple program and the options provided are not overkill. After I played with it for awhile I began to wish there was some kind of percussion or bass line that could be added. This would greatly increase the richness of the music generated. I also started wishing there was some way to record the sound I was generating. I switched out of the app to check my email and noticed that the sound does not continue, so if you want to set this app up to provide ambient background music, you’ll need to keep it running in the foreground.

Replay value is low to moderate; once I figured out the settings I got kind of bored and it began sounding monotonous. I do plan to leave it installed for the times when I’m feeling stressed or anxious, or I might try playing it through speakers as background noise while I work.

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Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Music, Reviews

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